Company News

Extrudakerb Under Lean Management

What is LEAN?

Lean manufacturing, lean production or ‘lean’, is a systematic method for the elimination of waste within a manufacturing system. Lean takes into account waste created through overburden and waste created through unevenness in workloads. ‘Lean’ in its simplest form means eliminating waste from every aspect of the work process while ensuring that value-adding activities are completed in the most efficient and time-effective manner.

In April 2016, Extrudakerb recruited Stephen Lee as Group Lean Manager, to initiate and take the company through its Lean journey. Stephen comes from an experienced background with over 18 years’ experience in Lean Management, and was previously in charge of Site Operations at a British Aerospace company, in which Lean was a forefront of the business objectives. Stephen will be managing operations at Extrudakerb’s head office including manufacturing, equipment servicing and stores department, and will be implementing a Lean culture across the Extrudakerb Group, with the full cooperation and involvement of everyone.

Recently, Highways England have implemented Lean projects across the UK highway projects, to look at improving production and lowering costs for all aspects of construction across the network.

As part of the Highway England Lean project, Extrudakerb will be able to become fully involved via the direction and experience of Stephen as they follow their own “LEAN journey”.


Basic Processes –IMG_3619

In terms of understanding the basic direction and Influence within a LEAN business it is important to firstly identify the types of areas that have the greatest effect on reducing the performance and efficiency of a business.

The evaluation of each of these elements using such LEAN tools as Value stream mapping. Must systematically occur to firstly understand the “Current state” so we can then create the “Future state” taking in to consideration the requirements of both business and customer.

There are many different tools associated with LEAN, the most important element of applying the LEAN tools is the understanding of which tool is applicable to your business.


What are the clients and Extrudakerb’s expectations?

The expectation of any customer or client is that there every request is taken into a business that has an effective process of managing the request, and providing the service to the correct price, time scale, quality and quantity.

The primary focus of LEAN is not sat with the Business undertaking the journey “or” the customer, but both parties with an equal balance, as neither party can independently function without the other.

For example, if the customer requires a reduced lead time from standard, the business must have a process of understanding what elements within that process can be reduced via whatever means. Before they commit back to the customer.

Throughout Extrudakerb’s Lean journey, a continual analysis of the waste eliminated, time and cost saved will be carried out. After initial evaluation, targets will be discussed and agreed, which will include a reduction in non-conformance’s, improved productivity, increased profit margin, improvement to work processes. With having on-board a dedicated Lean representative, it will allow Extrudakerb’s processes and setup to be scrutinised and improved, where necessary, whilst the company continues to grow at an equal if not improved rate.

A well thought-out and deployed strategy results in the alignment of purpose in every aspect of the company, leading to:IMG_3633

  • improved delivery performance in terms of value, quality, programme and cost
  • alignment of all areas to deliver against an agreed set of company objectives
  • clarity of communication
  • a common guide for decision making, target-setting, reviewing and improving
  • the basis to which all aspects of delivery should seek to relentlessly deliver
  • the foundation for collaborative working

Further benefits include:

  • all employees are focused and aligned to achieve the agreed objectives, working together in a non-adversarial way
  • the workforce are pushing further than their first improvement targets, positively challenging how far they can go
  • the workforce are happily, proudly and visibly reporting on their success
  • the workforce are willing to take coaching and review their work processes
  • the workforce challenge management when standards are slipping.

Continuous improvement is a never ending cycle that allows the business to identify and question the “current” and effectively improve it to the “future”.

In general terms the opportunities or “low hanging fruit” often present themselves based upon demand or change. But it is the challenging of the “Current” that offers the most gain, as there is always a better or more efficient way of completing a task.

For example – a filing cabinet is becoming full, the current mentality may be one of “when it gets full buy an additional one to create space”. Essentially demand has generated a requirement, but the “current” can be challenged to offer another solution, say scanning in of documents to reduce foot print and storage space.